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Student-Initiated Courses

The ECE Department offers a number of opportunities for graduate students to engage in study that is beyond the scope of the normal departmental graduate course offerings. Generally, these opportunities can be classified in three general categories: supervised study, MS research-intensive courses and doctoral research-intensive courses. Explanations of each of these categories along with registration information for courses in each of these categories can be found below.

It is important that students interested in enrolling in any of these courses consult the curricular requirements for their chosen degree program to: 1) determine if there exist any restrictions on the number of credits that can be taken in any of the following courses or categories and 2) identify what curricular requirements these courses may fulfill. Curricular requirements for each of the graduate degree programs administered by the ECE Department can be found at the following links:

Please note that, in the following discussion, the notation ECEx is used as short-hand to denote any subject code that falls under the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering:

  • Computer Engineering (ECEC)
  • Electrophysics (ECEE)
  • Power Engineering (ECEP)
  • Systems Engineering (ECES)
  • Telecommunications (ECET)

Supervised Study

The graduate level supervised study course, ECEx 699, is intended to offer a single graduate student or a small group of graduate students the opportunity to study a subject that, although related to the field of electrical and computer engineering, falls outside the regular graduate course offerings of the ECE Department during the quarter of registration. This study is performed under the supervision of an ECE Department faculty member. In contrast to the research-intensive courses listed below, the supervised study course does not focus on hands-on research activities, but rather on more traditional instructional activities such as literature review, lectures, discussion, graded assignments, and examinations. Credits earned under supervised study are not considered in the category of research-intensive courses.

Registration for Supervised Study

Creation of and registration for this course is performed at the request of the supervising ECE Department faculty member. Faculty members supervising such a course should contact the ECE Associate Department Head for Graduate Affairs with the following information no later than the end of the first week of the quarter in which the course is to be offered:

  • the course number,
  • a descriptive title for the course,
  • a short description of the domain to be covered in the course,
  • the name(s) of student(s) to be registered, and
  • the ID number(s) of student(s) to be registered.

MS Research-intensive Courses

The ECE Department offers three distinct research-intensive courses that are appropriate for students pursuing one of the MS degree programs administered by the ECE Department. These courses have been developed to allow for an educational research-intensive experience both for students interested in completing a Master's thesis and for students interested in working on a particular aspect of a previously established research project, being exposed to the research process, or developing technical skills through research activities outside of the scope of a Master's thesis. Students interested in undertaking one of these research-intensive courses should consult the following descriptions in order to determine which course is most appropriate.

ECE 695 - Research Rotations in Cybersecurity

The research rotations course is only available to those students enrolled in the MS in Cybersecurity degree program. The research rotation model, inspired by medical school clinical rotations, allows students to gain exposure to research that cuts across conventional departmental barriers and traditional research groups, prior to identifying and focusing on a specific interdisciplinary project or thesis topic. Students choosing to participate in research rotations will participate in the research activities of two labs for each three credits of research rotation they undertake. This course has a standard letter grade mode.

ECEx 697 - Independent Research

The independent research course is appropriate for MS students participating, under the supervision of an ECE Department faculty member or other approved faculty member, in graduate-level research activities unrelated to the completion of a Master's thesis. This course has a standard letter grade mode.

ECEx 898 - Master's Thesis

The Master's Thesis course is appropriate for MS students participating, under the supervision of an ECE Department faculty member or other approved faculty member, in graduate-level research activities related to the completion of a Master's thesis. This course has a standard letter grade mode. It is required that one of the graded deliverables be a draft of the Master's thesis.

Registration for MS Research-intensive Courses

Registration for either Independent Research (ECEX 697) or Master's Thesis (ECEX 898) requires completion, submission and approval of a Graduate Independent Research and Thesis Contract outlining the number of credits to be taken, a description of work to be undertaken, and a list of graded deliverables to be used for assigning a final grade. A completed contract, including all of these components as well as the signatures of the student and the supervising faculty member must be submitted to the graduate advisors no later than the end of the first week of the quarter in which the course is to be taken.

Registration for Research Rotations in Cybersecurity (ECE 695) requires enrollment in the MS in Cybersecurity degree program. In addition, for each three credits of enrollment in Research Rotations in Cybersecurity, a student must complete, submit, and seek approval of a Cybersecurity Research Rotations Contract outlining the number of credits to be taken, a description of work to be undertaken, an indication of the laboratories in which the work is to be completed, and a list of graded deliverables to be used for assigning a final grade. A completed contract, including all of these components as well as the signatures of the student and the supervising faculty members must be submitted to the graduate advisors no later than the end of the first week of the quarter in which the course is to be taken.

Doctoral Research-intensive Courses

The ECE Department feels that all research activities performed by a doctoral student will contribute in at least some way to the development of the doctoral dissertation; therefore, all students pursuing the doctoral degree in the ECE Department must register for one of the following doctoral research-intensive courses during any quarter in which academic credit is to be earned for the research activities being undertaken during said quarter.

ECEx 997 - Dissertation Research

The Dissertation Research course is appropriate for doctoral students, under the supervision of an ECE Department faculty member or other approved faculty member, completing graduate-level research activities. This course has a standard letter grade mode.

ECEx 998 - Ph.D. Dissertation

The PhD Dissertation course is appropriate for doctoral students, under the supervision of an ECE Department faculty member or other approved faculty member, completing graduate-level research activities. This course is graded on a credit/no credit basis.

Registration for PhD Research-intensive Courses

Registration for either of these courses requires the approval of both the ECE Department and a student's supervising professor. A student interested in registering for either of the doctoral research-intensive courses should first consult the student's supervising professor regarding which course is most appropriate based on the differentiating factor of grading method. Once this is determined, one of the following should be submitted to the graduate advisors:

  • a complete Add/Drop/Withdraw Form that bears the signature of the student's supervising professor as instructor; or
  • electronic, written communication that bears the following information:
    • the student's name,
    • the intended course,
    • the number of credits to be undertaken, and
    • the supervising professor's approval of the above information.